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European Grand Prix – Vettel Dominates Incident filled Race

by F1Fan on June 28, 2010

The European Grand Prix Valencia Street Circuit lived up to its reputation as a difficult high speed circuit, delivering a race filled with incident, questionable stewards decisions and great driving throughout the field in the closing stages of the race.

At the start Sebastian Vettel narrowly held off Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren charging into the first corner after getting by Webber who had a terrible start from the dirty side of the front row dropping from second to ninth place.

Hamilton was lucky after hitting Vettel, reporting to his team that he was suffering front end vibration, but whatever damage their was he was able to continue until his pit stop when McLaren changed the front wing.

Once Vettel held off Hamilton he quickly gapped the rest of the field building up almost a 4 second lead when disaster struck his teammate Mark Webber, who collided with Hiekki Kovalainen, driving over the top of the lotus somersaultinf in Mid air, landing upside down, rolling the right way up and sliding at high speed into the tire barrier, their wasn’t much left of his car after the accident but luckily Webber emerged unhurt, say’s something about the safety regulations that the FI teams have to follow when constructing a modern F1 car.

This incident bought out the safety car, and the following mayhem as cars raced for the pits or got held up by the safety car affected the outcome of the race and almost cost HAmilton his second place finish.

During the safety car period the only car to stay out was Kamui Kobayashi who didn’t pit until lap 54. A strategy kept him in the top three position for most of the race and when he finally pitted and came out on fresh tires in Ninth place, he was able to get by Fernando Alonso out braking Alonso into a corner, and then on the final corner of the racebefore the finish straight did the same thing to Sebastien Buemi giving Kobayashi and BMW Sauber a seventh place finish, the best finish of the season.

After Ferrari complained to the Stewards that Hamilton passed the safety car as it was entering the track, the stewards handed Hamilton a drive through penalty, although in hind sight the penalty had little effect as Hamilton was so far ahead of Kamui Kobayashi that after driving a couple of blisteringly fast laps before serving the penalty Hamilton was able to come back out in second place, not even loosing one position.

At the time of Hamiltons safety car incident the Ferrari’s of Alonso and Massa were in third and fourth place behind Hamilton. Because Hamilton passed the safety car and they were stuck behind it, the Ferrari’s dropped down the field to 10th and 17th after all the pit stop rotations worked out. So you can understand why they were upset, but I guess thats racing sometimes you get the breaks sometime you don’t.

Michael Schumacher also suffered a similar fate, staying out an extra lap before pitting, Schumacher came into the pits from third place but got trapped in pit lane as the pit exit closed before he could renter the track because of the proximity of the safety car. So Micheal had to watch as the whole field passed in front of him before Pit exit opened and he was allowed to reenter the race.

Towards the end of the race the Race stewards placed seven cars under investigation for speeding back to the pits while the safety car was deployed: Jenson Button, Rubens barrichello, Robert Kubica, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Pedro De La Rosa and Vitaly Petrov. So when the race finished apart from Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton it was uncertain as to who was going to finish where. Luckily the penaly the Stewards only assessed a 5 second penalty on these drivers so most escaped unaffected. However it did buy Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg one position higher, cost Sebastien Buemi a position and Cost Pedro De La Rosa his fist point of the season and what would have been the first time BMW Sauber had two cars in the points so far this season.

European Grand Prix Final Results (Top Ten)

PositionDriver
Nationality
DriverTeamGrand Prix
Points
1GermanySebastian VettelRed Bull Racing25
2GBLewis HamiltonMcLaren18
3GBJenson ButtonMcLsren15
4BrazilRubens BarrichelloWilliams F112
5PolandlRobert KubicaRenault F110
6GermanyAdrian SutilForce India8
7JapanKamui KobayashiBMW Sauber F16
8SpainFernando AlonsoFerrari4
9SwitzerlandSebastien BuemiToro Rosso2
10GermanyNico RosbergMercedes GP1
last updated June 28, 2010
European Grand Prix Final Results after Stewards Penalties Assessed.
Animated flag images by 3DFlags.com

All in all a great race, and while Lewis Hamilton was catching Sebastian Vettel by over a second a lap during the third of the race, Vettel was obviously coasting, preserving his tires and fuel, with five laps to go Sebastian turned on the afterburners and matched easily Hamilton’s time preserving a substantial winning margin.

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